I get 'cross

My journal of cyclocross
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Ben stole Liam Killeens wheels, but that's after that chunk of blonde hair'd muscle stole his first from the pits at the Abergavenny cross.
You'd think the champ would know to label his wheels.

But guess what wheels they were...
Mavic Krysium SL silver (yeh I know! I just built a pair).
Liam was rocking Dugasts, which had been transplated with a Michelin Mud tread.

If it's good enough for Liam as a spare set of wheels then it's good enough for me.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

This is me, in a cave, telling people what to do. What I do best. I'm not saying what I tell them to do is best but I am best at telling.
What the hell happened there then. Well I'll tell you, I got complacent. That's what! Finished 2nd in the Eastern League at the weekend.
I opted for Eastern because after my double cross race weekend, Eastern was the race on the Saturday and I decided its a really well run league, fun with really nice people going. A photographer shows up too so I can look at pictures of myself the following week.

Why am I cross - well, here's how it goes. I have to start way back because I'm not a league member. Top lady starts 2nd row. I battle my way through but with 2 to go, I think I've got up to her. I ease off, NUMBER ONE RULE - never ease off. Keep going. Get to them and then smash past them.

So in the end I left myself one lap to catch and get past the leader. I didn't manage it because I then sat behind a few folk instead of shoutiung my way past. Final lap my time 7min.02 secs, winners lap 7min 17 secs.
I lost by 2 seconds.
Ok I didn't get gridded she completed her 1 lap 26 seconds faster than me because I got into a massive bottle neck but hey thats racing. I however did not race properly on 3 and 2 to go hence why I'm cross. Only at myself though.
And being eastern league I still won £20 for 2nd, still got a load of points, only drove for 30mins to the race not 2 hours to dover where the london league was being held.

What is pretty smart of the Eastern League is the Lap-O-Meter, you can compare yourself and you time per lap to all the other competitors. http://www.easterncross.org.uk/race10-11-6.htm

Oh yeh - then on the way home, I accidentally drove into someone, no harm done, no damage. PHEW
I'm on tenter hooks to see the jersey
List of things to take for a 40 min National Trophy Cross Race
Just had a thought, might do a project. here are some words related to the new project.

croxted road
waddington way
4-6 weeks
probably won't work
Image: Andy Waterman

The only way forward in cross is tubs. Fact.
I said it last year, in my end of season round up. Once I got tubular tyres my racing changed and I could feel the difference.
That said clinchers have their place, riding to a training session down Mitcham, a punctured clincher is easy to sort and your off riding again. Punctured tub and thats the end of the game. But I feel, I can tell the difference  in performance between tub and clincher. Maybe there is an element of self-fullfilling prophercy, here with that?

Cheap Tub set up
Andy Waterman found the cheapest cross tub wheelset combo out there....

His combo was Mavic Reflex rims, cheapo Planet X hubs and steel plain guage spokes, Vittoria XM tyres.
The rims are strong and robust. The hubs are uber cheap and light. Vittoria tubs are on special and have a good tread, Andy says.
I built a pair  just in time for the end of the season. But used some second hand Challenge Grifo tubs.

There are some flaws to the wheelset.

a. To keep them cheap you need to be able to build your own wheels or have someone do it for you on the cheap else, you gotta pay £50 labour a wheel or some shit.
b. The hubs aren't sealed or serviceable, sure they run smooth but I treated mine a bit bad and so the suffered from premature decrepitude. Freehub body went sticky, when I picked them out 7 months later had to give em TLC
c. They do need proper bit of care to keep em good. That's annoying fucking thing you got to do when you get home after you've, driven on the motorway, hosed down a skinsuit, made some dinner, cleaned 2 bikes. Then you gotta deal with a bloody hub.
d. Hubs don't come with skewers so you need to get a set of them too.

The Dilemma
So I got me 2 bikes for cross this year - replacing the Condor Baracchi-X will be a lighter Condor Bivio-X (the main training bike, cross bike no.2) & the new race ready Condor Terra-X (cross bike no.1).

I've got that set of Reflex rims & Planet X hubs wheelset combo for my first tubeset but what about the Terra-X.
There are quite alot of options. But its a pricey game and I don't want to run carbon wheel neither.

What I do have is 2 sets of Mavic Krysium SL's circa 2005 & 2006. One of the pairs I swapped for something and the other I bought off Jody Crawford for £80.
They are both clincher and I toyed with the idea of tubeless Hutchinson but then blew that idea to dust. They are expensive for what they are and don't offer the full benefits of a tubular.

The Maths
Mavic Krysium SL 2006
Front - 650g
Rear - 815g

Mavic Reflex with Planet X & Sapim
Rim - 360g
Rear hub 32h - 298g (shimano)
Sapim race spokes - 180g
Rear wheel total - 838g

Yeh ok so Hope Pro 3's would be a mega upgrade, providing increased longevity but it will cost ya,  AND Hope Pro 3's are actually heavier (315g). Though I'd take em because they look good...agree?
But they are BUCKS, big ones, cost ya boyo. I aint feeling the cost right now.

Transplant Op Solution
But you know what? Mavic still have in stock Krysium SL tubular rims from back in the day. They are directly transferable, all one has to do is undo the spokes, the hub is going to need a bit of grease, maybe replace the bearings.
2 hours on the operating table. Boom.
Whole new wheelset and a bomb-proof one at that.

You can't fault 'em I reckon. Proven results, I say from what my eyes see week in week out in the cross leagues.
Front is 650g and the Rear 815g
Mavic made this version of the Krysium SL from '05 till '08 everything about that silver flat bladed, alloy hub wheelset means they are seen in pits across the cyclo-cross world week in week out. Ok they aren't on all the kids no.1 cross bikes these days but they are there as a back up, reliable and ready.
Most of the wheelsets probably did a season on the road before they drafted in for the cross season when the owner looked to replace his road wheels.
See... proper bomb-proof and that's why they are being built ready for the new team issue Terra-X.

To finish
Well, we all know, Rhino's are the dogs. More psychological product selling I reckon. But if it means I let go of the brakes just that bit less. Less loss of speed, more acceleration after the corner, less waste of energy. Then hey, I don't care. Just about mental as the physical.

And that is how I've built MY ultimate wheelset. Yeh its not pimp, yeh sure there is something lighter out there but it'll cost ya. Wheels are serious tools. The way I see it, focus on getting the elements of speed, don't mess with speed. Trick the fuck up on little details. Subtle is sublime.

Disclaimer - I chat mess. I might not be right. We shall see won't we....
I don't know how it happened, Kristian H persuaded me I guess, but I ended up in an all tweed outfit and modelling in some hipster fashion show.
The Tweed outfit I wore, which included a silk scarf, plus 4's, shirt, flat cap, tweed waistcoat. the tweed wasn't Harris as @tarmacchaser pointed out but it did have reflective strands woven into it. pretty smart cycling tweed. But I look shit in the pictures, the boots make me look like I have some chunky thighs and no tan.
http://www.bicycleimages.com/ images are here  - search Pret and loads of stuff comes up

my other outfit was by Finesterre. Wore well, looked nice and made from British Merino Wool. Clever.

This girls properly worked it, not sure the outfit is that great for cycling. High fashion

And Kristian just looked like erm a Rapha man
Move over cakes. Well, not quite, I love a good sponge. But we've realised its no way forward for a pro. In fact whilst it was helping us train, it might have become an addiction that just went too far. Thank god it was cake and not crack. I think I've got one of those addictive personalities.
2010 was the year Rapha Condor girls did cake. And it culminated in a 4 page spread in cycling weekly. BOOM.

We've set ourselves some rules re cake to ween ourselves off it
Cake can't be eaten without reason related to cycling
Cake can be eaten following a substantial ride or race
Cake shouldn't stop rides, ride first, cake to finish, at least 1 hour of riding before cake could be considered.
Good race performance warrants cake -
Exception - not if you sat in and did nothing then sprinted at the end
Supermarket cakes are not acceptable
No cake until Wednesday

a. someones baked at home and brought it in - but only 1 slice/cupcake - you cant go back for seconds
b. its a birthday and someone brought in something
c. It is a once in a lifetime chance - Gordan Ramsay just walked in with a Victoria.

There is one more cake ride to follow in the south, roughly November time. Then we'll wave goodbye.
Its been great knowing the bakey goodness
Right there is alot of stuff to pick up on.
I did a double cross weekend, Eastern League on the Saturday and then London League on the Sunday. Both races were a stark contrast to each other.
The first was grassy, sunny and dry the London League was painful. I think I wrote in an earlier blog that its dumb people referring to cyclo cross as Hell. Well I take it back it was. I coudn't count how many times I washed out, it was nasty and muddy (which I like) but the course was tricky lots of ups. I finished 1st on Sat and then 40 secs off the pace on Sunday and in the runner up spot.

Very much enjoyed the Eastern League, neither race I made easy for myself. I fell off my bike through complete error in the start had to chase rather hard to get back to the front of the field from dead last.
On Sunday I made so many mistakes on the course when I was in the wrong gear and had to come to a dead hault. You learn this stuff. It was the first race where I properly had to spend an hour cleaning the bike. I hate it when you put it away in the garage then the next day, you notice its still a pile of filth.

So the cycle show rolled around and I worked from 6am till 11pm every night. It was hard, my feet and legs gave up so by the time of the National Trophy they didn't really want to work anymore. They wouldn't carry me up the climb. I finished 2nd from last and I didn't like it one bit.
But that feeling of being last and pity for you is a bitch. So then the following week I wanted to ride my heart out but I decided not to. I just needed a rest so I did. I feel better for it.

Next up is Muddy Hell then National Trophy at Ipwich the following day.

I got a couple of messages about doing and blog posts and when the hell am I going to update Cross 140. I've been taking pictures (honest), I just got super busy. Launched a new range at the cycle show, did some cross races - some I did good, some I goof'd then I launched my first ever proper website (http://www.condorcycles.com/). It still needs some work. Like a new born baby, it needs constant care. But you don't know these things till they are born.

We launched with some exciting stuff which I'm pretty proud of, that I help be part of the creative, like a director, like the Rider Stories and we have little sound bites online, i mixed them myself, i know its poor but i think im clever. I love the time lapse video of the bike fit with Andy Waterman. Our new photography has worked out real nice for the bikes. I think its fair to say I was the pushy one, saying how I wanted it. No compromise. I love the blog, I love the twitter. I love sitting down for a couple of hours each week and thinking up a blog schedule. I love how so many people have taken the time to comment on the website via twitter and how many followers we have considering we don't have millions.
Right so Cyclo Cross.... so far... next blog
I was sitting on the train en route to Esher to go watch a film and eat Italian (FYI). There is a guy opposite me. He sounds alittle bit like an idiot. He's just said to his friend

"That girl I was seeing, yeh I'm going to drop her. She only just got back to me after a month with a date when she can meet up. I don't think I can be bothered."

No mate - I think she can't be bothered, you fool.

Ok then he said "oh Jennifer, yes that was a rather drunken flight. Saw her last week, bit of a rotter."

Ok I like you alittle bit more because you used the term rotter

Its the end of the season. Therefore doing things that may break our collarbones is now allowed. Rapha Condor girls and boys team were asked by Prostate Cancer charity to ride a sportive of the Stoke Stage of the Tour of Britain. I have to travel up from London to do it, so did Phips and Rachel and Martin,Brigga, Dean and Curley had to drive across from somewhere North or Midlands, whatever,  so we decided to make a weekend of it.
Deano, Brigga, Martin, Phips, Me, Curley and Rachel decided to go off road on Saturday and then we met up with a few more folk for an awesome PIE. Keiran from Pendragon also joined us, as he knows the trails better.

While Phips was mending his chain which he randomly snapped - Brigga decided to get some air. Deano gave him a lead out. 
FYI - check out Cannock Chase and we rode the Dog and Monkey runs. Full sussers can be hired and there are family trials. Big thanks to the lads at Swinnerton Cycle who hooked me Curley, Rachel up with some bikes to borrow FOC.